18 November 2008


“Steaming is great because of its speed and minimal impact on [the] flavor and texture of food. The method is particularly appropriate with ingredients that bring a delicate flavor. Fresh vegetables are perfectly suited to steam cooking, as they have subtle, delicious flavors that are lost to more aggressive heat. Poultry, pork, and many kinds of seafood are also beautiful matches with this form of cooking.” FamilyEducation.com

“Steam ovens, (often called ‘combi ovens,’ because they cook with a combination of steam and dry heat), are a chef’s secret weapon.” Food and Wine Magazine

Last week, at Viking Range Company’s designer open house program, I had some of the best stir-fried rice and cheesecake I’ve ever enjoyed – prepared in its Steam/Convect Oven™, (shown above right). Now I seriously want one! This baby:

* Steams
* Roasts
* Bakes
* Browns
* Reheats

It even multi-tasks! The Steam/Convect Oven can cook two dishes on two separate settings at the same time to get dinner on the table faster. How perfect is that for busy homeowners?

Here’s a 10-second video Viking has prepared to show the S/O in operation.


Many major manufacturers make combination steam ovens. Here are a few links for your convenience:

Kitchen Aid

The Gaggenau offers the unique feature of a side-opening door, which is ideal for wheelchair users. I have not had the opportunity to evaluate or use any of these competing combination-steam ovens on the market, so I can’t comment on them with any authority.

If you decide that this is an appliance that would enhance your kitchen – as I have – then compare and contrast. When I start shopping for my own Casa de Goldberg combi-steam oven, these are the Viking benchmarks I’ll be using:

* Doesn’t need to be plumbed for less expensive installation and easier maintenance.
* Multi-tasks for cook’s convenience and faster cooking time.
* Alerts owner to run self-clean (de-scale) function so I don’t have to worry about it.

Here are a few related considerations for adding a combi-steam oven to your kitchen:

* Will it replace an existing second oven?
* If so, does it need or come with a trim kit?
* Do you need a new cabinet to accommodate an added appliance?
* Do you have a licensed electrician to run the wiring and install it?
* What is the most convenient location in your kitchen for this new appliance, based on your cooking plans for it?
* Where can it be safely installed?
* Do you have trusted local appliance and remodeling experts to guide you?


Here, compliments of Viking Product Training Manager and hostess extraordinaire Dorothy Gates, is the recipe for the best cheesecake on the planet:



3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups graham cracker crumbs

Using a [Viking] Food Processor, combine ingredients until blended.

Press into a spring form pan, pressing halfway up the sides of the pan.


16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
3 cups sour cream

Using a [Viking] Stand Mixer, cream cheese and sugar until smooth on medium speed.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until smooth, scraping down bowl from time to time.

Mix in vanilla and sour cream until combined.

Pour into spring form pan.

Place rack at level 1 and level 3.

Preheat oven using Truconvec™ cooking, 300°F.

Bake until center is set but not firm, at 300°F, 1 hour 10 minutes.

Let set in oven for 10 minutes with door open.

Cool completely before removing from pan.



This is my second entry in a Gold Notes holiday entertaining series. Last week, I focused on wine storage. I haven't decided on next week's topic yet. (If you have a request, don't hesitate to let me know.) I also shared some holiday entertaining tips with my Tampa Tribune Flair Magazine readers this month. Click to page 41 to read this story, which includes tips from an appliance pro, caterer/cafe owner and wine expert.

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